Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


pontoontodd last won the day on April 19

pontoontodd had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

117 Excellent

1 Follower

About pontoontodd

  • Rank
    1000+ Super USER!

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

Recent Profile Visitors

900 profile views
  1. Not all that sano but it works. Had to use the starter button and the ignition key simultaneously to start it once today. Would really like to fix that problem but don't know what else to try. I can't see using the electric jacks on another car. They are very convenient but as you say they're pretty heavy. Also you basically have to have some kind of cage to mount them to and definitely makes the car a two seater.
  2. Hot not starting problem still continues, have now tried different battery cables, two batteries, and three starters, one with new solenoid contacts. Logically it should be the wiring to or from the ignition key switch causing the problem. Decided to wire a starter pushbutton in parallel with the key switch. Also don't think I ever posted pictures of the switch and resistors Z wired in to lock the 6MT center diff. Two 5 ohm resistors in parallel, the pair is wired in series with the center diff. The center diff measures about 1.8 ohms of resistance but the accuracy of the ohmmeter at that low resistance is fairly poor. Also there's impedance from induction, ask Z, but we think it should cut the voltage about in half. Resistors have thermal paste to the back of the switch panel, it gets quite hot when the diff is on. Really just a temporary solution while I work on the locking low range center diff. Switch on the left is to control the HVAC vents. One time today it wouldn't restart with the key after sitting for about ten minutes but did start with the button. I think it sounds a little different with the button than the key but not sure. Also realized I could use both key and button for minimum resistance. One of many reasons slammo is probably right that I should swap the drivetrain and suspension into a first gen Impreza and retire this car.
  3. Yeah, I have seen those and been tempted to do that. Either way a standalone would probably be the way to go. Forced induction is technically not legal in BITD in most classes but I don't think they care if we enter Sportsman. Not sure where I'd put the blower either, my big air filter takes up a lot of space. Guess I figured the EZ36 would be a simpler, more reliable way to make more low end torque especially if either one requires a standalone and some wiring.
  4. Steering rack was leaking badly while trail riding on the last trip so I swapped it out with a fresh one. While it was out I seam welded the front crossmember and found a few small cracks to weld. Much CV grease was burned off the top. The rack had slightly damaged threads on one of the fittings so it took a long time to get that hooked up. Lesson there is to test fit the lines before putting the rack in the car. Also the center of the travel without the tie rods is NOT the same as the center of travel with the tie rods installed so we had to reclock the steering shaft after it was all assembled. Hot non starting problems have continued so B put some different battery cables in the car. If anything it's worse now. I'm going to try a different battery next. Jump starting often helps, and this battery has been run down countless times when I've left the doors open to air it out. We also weighed the car again, it's been six years or so. Pretty sure when we weighed it before it still had the four cylinder and definitely no cage, probably no steel bumpers and fuel cell. Back then with 3/8 tank of gas it weighed 3518# unloaded, 3903# loaded. This time it was 4152# with a spare tire and full tank of gas but basically no cargo. The cargo we had in the car weighed a total of 421# so loaded the car was 4573#. We also normally carry food, more water, camping gear, clothes, etc so with that and two people in it, it's definitely over 5000# loaded. Gotta get a first gen Impreza to swap this suspension and drivetrain into. Also getting very tempted to swap in an EZ36 over the winter. Seems like the best option is a Haltech 2500 but I would like to hear other ideas. Have considered a supercharger but don't know how I'd fit it under the hood. It's got good power over 2-3000RPM but under that it's bad. Basically looking for more low end torque and an engine option that's less than 15 years old, it's getting almost impossible to find good EZ30s now. The head gaskets in my 2002 OB are starting to leak, we just put that engine (with unknown miles on it) in the car least year. Thought is after/while swapping an EZ36 in the 99 we could swap this EZ30 in the 2002 since it has fresh head gaskets. Trying to keep the 99 going so we can run the Vegas to Reno (and maybe some other desert races) next year.
  5. I decided we should not do the Vegas to Reno this year to reduce the spread of disease. We are still planning on doing trail riding somewhere northwest of Illinois for a week though. Any suggestions on Subaru appropriate areas to explore/camp are welcome. I got a set of new starter solenoid contacts and put them in the starter I had been using with good success with the 5MT. This is the one I'd milled to clear the 6MT pressure plate. It still takes a few tries when hot to start sometimes though. I'm going to try battery cables next since I have some and they're not too hard to swap out.
  6. We did check the cranking voltage a few weeks ago. 11.25 at the battery, 10.75 at the starter, so I think the battery and cables are good.
  7. We took a short trip to southern IL to do some trail riding, camping, and hiking. Before we left I'd installed a 2016 STI starter among other things. Seemed to work consistently driving around town but on the way down one time it wouldn't start. Jump started to starter post and fired up. Stopped at Kincaid lake to pre run some trails. One area we found had a narrow gravel road that kept going, getting more overgrown, and had some side trails but we didn't do anything crazy since it was just A and I in one car. Drove down to Pine Hills campground and found travelvw. B and Z showed up later that night. The next morning we drove to Inspiration point. We hit a few dead end trails/roads. Drove up along a levee to Grand Tower. Z showed us Happy Hollow road just north of there, hit one long and wide up/downhill trail that dead ended and a couple other dead ends. Drove south along a powerline grade that was pretty cool – very hilly, most of the climbs had a couple different lines, an easier established route and steep two track. Shown in the background here is one of the more challenging two tracks. Even the easier route was a good challenge for the Subarus, we had to keep the speed up with the Outback with no low range. At the south end of the powerlines we ran a big loop trail through the woods. At first it criss crossed a stream bed and then had a lot of long climbs. It was fairly challenging with no low range. Had to stack rocks at least once. Had to winch/tow the Outback up the end of a long climb. The starter in the Outback kept giving us problems, jump starting to the starter post seemed to help but then A figured out if you just try it 5-10 times it will eventually crank. When it does crank it spins pretty fast and fires right up. At one point A said he lost power steering and it was making noise, the reservoir was empty. Checked it regularly after that and went through less than a quart all weekend. I think it was just leaking fast when we were back in the woods giving it a lot of heat and pressure. We probably spent six hours going about five miles. I think one problem we may have been having with the reduced low end torque is that the car was running the whole time, we often left it idling so we wouldn't have to restart it, and we were never running any engine or air speed to cool off the intake. Eventually got down to a dirt road along the Mississippi where there was a cool sandy beach with big rocks. Went back up the powerline grade. I pointed out to A it had been hours since we'd been in second gear. Stopped at Pomona natural bridge. We were going to go to Giant City to hike but there wasn't any good dispersed camping for travelvw around there so we headed to Trail of Tears state forest and its extremely dispersed campsites. Every other campsite had an outhouse. We realized we were camping just a few miles from where we had that morning. The next morning we drove to Giant City and did the eponymous trail. We drove to Bork's falls, parked at the top and hiked to the bottom. We'd decided to go to little grand canyon since it was on our way back and it was even less impressive than I remembered. We hiked to the “main” overlook which had a decent view of the Mississippi floodplain but not the canyon. I think I had hiked to the canyon overlook years ago. Cooked the rest of the dogs and burgers and split up for home. Overall a pretty good trip, we were on a lot of challenging trails on Saturday and didn't really break anything. Definitely a good thing we have the dual range in B's Forester and further encouragement to get my 6MT low range done. Next is probably the Vegas to Reno in Nevada. Starter always seems to work when cold but often have to try the key a few times when it's hot. Going to try fresh contacts in one of the Legacy/Outback gear reduction starters and see if I can make it fit.
  8. Video from our last trip to the UP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcou2sa9I-o
  9. B and I went through my pile of spare starters. I have a few automatic trans starters that all seem to work on the bench. I have two gear reduction manual trans starters that didn't work on the bench. We took the cover off the solenoid on a few of them and they were all worn. Plunger flipped over to show wear. We think one of the problems is that if the terminals get over tightened the pads inside the starter turn and then the plunger only hits that side and not the other. B got one of them to work a few times on the bench. I put it in the car and it would normally make a clunk noise like it was engaging but not turning. Occasionally it would make a grinding noise. Even after removing the bolts it was stuck in place. Looks like it was interfering with the STI pressure plate. I milled some clearance on it. If I do this again I'll be a little more careful not to break through to the bearing and interior. Then I went to test it again before putting it in the car and it didn't work. The STI starter worked every time on the bench so we put it back in. Then it didn't work in the car. B noticed when putting the solenoid wire on that it was a fairly loose connection, I cleaned it out a bit and crimped it and then it worked the next five or ten times we tried it. I should get at least one spare starter and I prefer the gear reduction starters. There are a few in town pretty cheap. I tried looking and couldn't find out if a starter from a newer Subaru would fit, I'd prefer one that's a few years old to one that's a few decades old. I'm tempted to just buy a late model starter from a junkyard to try it, they're about $40. Anyone know what my options are? Also welded up the cracks in the front crossmember. I had this plate bolted on underneath the crossmember, cleaned the paint off the edges and welded it in.
  10. I had just charged the battery that day but I will try to check the cranking voltage next time I have someone here. Also forgot to mention, A was getting really good at using the pushbutton brakes in the white Outback to pitch the car sideways. And we didn't break any axles all weekend, so it's probably just clutch drops we have to worry about.
  11. Yes, planning on fabbing some custom knuckles. The conversion races have been disappointing. They are perfectly serviceable and are a fairly cheap and easy way to put an R180 in a Subaru. Turns out the R160 rear axles are definitely the weak link though. We went out of town to do a little suspension testing, which went fairly well. While we were there we decided to test the center diff. Z had wired up a toggle switch and some resistors so we could put about 6VDC to it. I have read much more than that for extended periods of time will burn it out. I did some test launches on dirt with it off (unlocked). Had to rev to about 4000RPM to get some wheelspin. Turned on the switch and did a few more launches and broke another rear axle. On dirt, with the tires at 40psi. Fortunately with the switch I was able to just drive it home with a broken axle and deal with it there. I replaced it and have two spares assembled now but definitely steps up the fabricated rear knuckle priority. Seven of us with four Subarus met north of Milwaukee for a weekend trip to the UP. Just after leaving home my white Outback had smoke coming out the underside due to a pinhole leak in the auto trans cooler line (original 20 year old 260k mile hose I think). We drove back home and replaced that. Before leaving home again the black Outback wouldn't start so I hooked up the jump starter and it fired up. North of Milwaukee we stopped for gas and the black Outback wouldn't restart even with the jump pack. We swapped on the spare starter which also didn't work. We then tested both of them on the ground and the spare didn't spin but the one that had been in the car did. We put the original one back on and it fired up. This is the starter that came with the 6MT swap, seemed like my 5MT starter wouldn't fit it. We met up with T in northern WI and headed up into the UP to do a little trail riding. We got to the pipeline grade and I went first. We met up in the middle and everyone had big smiles on their faces. We drove back and forth on it, changing drivers and passengers. I was driving pretty hard, the black Outback was bottoming fairly often. The sand may have been firmer than usual. I was probably pushing it a little harder on each pass and this time it must have been too fast because the left rear strut came apart. I thought the car might go over for a second but it didn't and I rolled to a stop alongside the trail. Also cracked the windshield, which hasn't happened since we added the tubes under the front fenders. Bent the rear knuckle too. We spent hours working on it and decided to just camp where I had stopped. M cooked fish and we set up the tents. In the morning we checked over some other things and discussed options as various people woke up. We thought the best option would be to put a stock strut on the car so we could continue trail riding at a reduced pace. We called every parts store within 100 miles and none had a strut assembly in stock. There is a junkyard in Neguanee that has some Subarus but they're not open on Saturdays. M called a junkyard in Houghton called Ed's and they said they had some Foresters. M and Z found a 2008 Forester with relatively non-rusty struts so we removed those. M found a good fairly big front female CV axle. M pulled a tail light off a different Forester for B. Z pulled a couple roof rack rails he's been looking for off a different Forester. Drove back down to the campsite and put the strut on. In the meantime B had replaced one of his CV axles that was making noise. He led the way east towards Mt. Arvon. After that we continued east and stayed at a campground along a river with some small waterfalls. The white Outback had started making a clunking noise in the rear suspension so M and Z went to test drive it to try to figure out what was going on. The shock had come out of the bottom loop mount. We lined it back up and thought we threaded it back in the bottom loop mount. I cooked burgers and brats. T installed stainless braided brake lines on the rear of his car to improve the brake feel. In the morning we headed east. The rear suspension of the white Ouback was clunking again right away. I came up with the idea of wedging a bunch of pieces of wood between the shaft and spring to keep it straight. We cut those, jammed them in, and M safety wired them. That fix didn't last long either so we decided to just let it ride. We came up to a ~200' long section of flooded stream so I took off my shoes and socks and decided to walk it. M did the same, it was less than knee deep the whole way. There was a beaver dam flooding the road including in front of a bridge. We figured we'd drive a few of our cars across and then bust up the dam before T crossed. Three of our cars made it across fine but apparently T didn't get the memo and drove into the pond, stalling his engine about 2/3 of the way across. We pulled him across the bridge and drove the last car through the water and he started drying out his engine. B said that when he pulled the plastic intake off and opened the throttle, water poured out of the intake. B cracked the drain plug and drained the water out. They pulled the plugs and cranked the water out. Saw some fish, a big frog, and a leech. T's car fired up and seemed to be running well. We followed the main trail into Marquette. Stopped at a gas station to fill up and discuss where to camp. We told T we had a couple hour drive to the campsite and he should really go home while he could. It sounded like he had already made that decision, so after we helped him replace a rear caliper bolt that had fallen out we left him at the gas station. We trail rode for a couple hours. Then we went to a cool campground along cliff lake. We got to camp before dark all three nights. Since Z and A each had a total of about 12 hours of driving to get home, we figured we should just head straight home Monday morning. Apparently the disconnected shock shaft was pretty sketchy at highway speeds around turns. We got it back in the clevis but it didn't stay long. It was surprising how much that destabilized the car as it doesn't control wheel location and the spring was still holding that corner up but I think there's a fair amount of bump steer with those short lateral links. When we stopped one time on the way home, the black Outback wouldn't start again. Push started it with the white Outback and it started again every other time we stopped. The power locks would lock every time I turned on the ignition for a while. Got to M's, made PB&Js, replaced a leaking tire on the white Outback, and split up for our various destinations. We were all able to drive home under our own power. Perhaps the most repairs in a weekend we've ever had. The next weekend I washed both Outbacks to make repairs easier. Took the fenders off the black Outback before washing to check for body damage and found this small crack. Tried stretching it back out with a 12 ton bottle jack but just flexed the rollcage. Hopefully that means that part of the body is still pretty solid. We got the strut on the black Outback repaired and replaced a front CV axle the boot had slid off the inboard joint. I put the starter I'd been using up until the 6MT swap back on and it bolted in this time but just made a clunking noise when I tried it. Have to play with that more, if anyone has any ideas or advice on that I'd like to hear it.
  12. Got the 99 mostly back together, here is what the trans skidplate looks like. It's only 1/16" 4130 but it sits a couple inches below the trans, just didn't want a rock to be able to easily punch a hole in that cast aluminum pan. Hopefully the trans won't be staying that clean too much longer. Drove over some local suspension test obstacles. Pretty happy with the current setup but have something to try in the rear struts. Also should be able to start mocking up the low range pretty soon. Need to start measuring the knuckles and designing those so we can upgrade to the big front axles and bolt on wheel bearings in the rear.
  13. More clearancing of the mockup knuckle to allow the CV to be pushed farther outboard. Shortened the diff stub a bit as I found I could put the dust shield from the R180 inner on the front inner joint. Added a 1/2" spacer between knuckle and wheel bearing. Shortened the spacer between the CV and press on wheel bearings as short as it can go without running out of threads at the stub end. Could look into having a washer on the nut end and making it thinner still. Need something so the bearing race stays clamped, the CV itself doesn't do it. Reassembled with no spring this time. Cycles through the full travel now. Still need to space CV out some though, diff stub is pushed in a little too far at full droop. Will probably space wheel bearing out 1/4" more. Brake backing plate would sit in between those two round spacers to get caliper and shoe location right. In the end there will be no 1/2" (now 3/4") spacer, will just build the knuckles accordingly. Should be enough clearance to shift the wheel out another 1/4"+. This is with the bump stop removed too, it would never actually go this high. Comparison of standard R160 outer joint and front outer joint. Gets pretty close to the long bolt and the lower strut bolt.
  14. Yes, it seems like there would be a lot of advantages. The stubs won't be too bad to make but the knuckles will be quite a bit of work. Decided to mock it up this morning. First I bored out the knuckle on the lathe for CV clearance. Then cut the snout off and ground it flush. Tack welded this spacer between the knuckle and the front bolt on wheel bearing to get the hub in the right spot for the brakes. In the final product that would be a machined spacer to bolt between the backing plate and wheel bearing. Turned up a dummy stub axle. Big front axle on left, R180 in the middle. Stub slid into front axle. I need to check if that dust shield from the R180 inner would fit the front inner, that would allow me to shorten the adapter stub a bit. Stub installed in rear diff. That shoulder isn't the right diameter but that's where the R180 dust shield would press on. The whole mess mostly assembled. As you can see I couldn't get the top strut bolt to quite line up and that's at about ride height. Not even close at full droop. Reason being the inner CV is bottomed out. Need to space the wheel bearing out more and bore more clearance in the knuckle for the CV to fit deeper. Also need to check tire clearance inside the fender at full bump. I think I have the 1/2" to 1" I need to space it out but I should check. One issue will be clearance between the arm the parking brake cable pulls on and the bolt on wheel bearing. Spacing the wheel bearing out more might actually help me find a way around that. Worst case I make a new parking brake arm, in the scheme of things that's a pretty minor problem. Since I'll be fabbing the knuckles from scratch, offsetting them farther out isn't a problem. I would like to raise the outer pivots for the lateral links but there's not going to be much if any room with the big CV and strut there.
  15. I've driven the car with the 6MT and R180 a bunch of times around town now. Dust shield scraping noise eventually seemed to go away. Unfortunately doesn't seem much quieter on the highway with the added resonator but is geared a little shorter in top gear. Shifter is definitely much shorter throw (~1/3?) than the five speed and just always seems to work. No matter how half rump roast you push the clutch pedal and match revs it slides into gear smoothly and silently. Shifter's a little weird as it's bent towards passenger side (driver side in Japan) which kinda interferes with the steering brake in sixth. Need to fix that. Also I think it can shift into reverse with the collar up or down so that's not working quite right. Spring loaded pretty hard into third/fourth so for instance when trying to downshift from sixth to fifth it often goes into third until you get used to it. Much closer ratios than the five speed – first is a little taller and sixth is a little shorter and there's one more gear in there. One kinda nice thing is fifth is now in between where fourth and fifth were with the five speed. So it's a good cruising gear for 40-50mph while still allowing some acceleration. Will also come in handy for flat towing. Clutch seems similar, still pretty low effort. I think this rack has a little faster steering than my other Subarus so that took me a little bit to get used to again. Had heard a clicking noise on hard acceleration a few times, I know the u-joint flange was hitting the shield but now I'm not sure that was the noise. Tried launching it a few times, just 2000-3000RPM but with full throttle and dropping the clutch. One time resulted in some terrible rear wheel hop, I've never experienced that in this car before. I don't know how much of that is the center diff not being wired up so essentially being open and biased to the rear. At least once I just let it out at about 2000RPM and it went pretty smooth. Normally when I start out easy and then give it full throttle in first there's a driveline surge like the clutch disc springs aren't right for this engine and car (imagine that). Yesterday I was fortunately almost home and decided to dump the clutch at 2000+ again and there was a little pop and the car wasn't accelerating. Took the LR axle out this morning and confirmed it was broken at the outer CV. I'm hoping this is a fluke as we've never broken any Subaru rear axles and this is one of the bigger ones. I was looking at fabricating some rear knuckles to use the front bolt on wheel bearings though. Would then make rear diff stubs that accept the big front CV axles we've been using. Would make all four axles the same (and stronger) and all four wheel bearings the same (and bolt on). I would probably also raise the outer lateral link mounts to reduce axle plunge, increase ground clearance, and lower the roll center at the same time.